Monday, November 29, 2010

What I Learned in Jazz Class

 Jazz is a type of music that you have to understand it in order to appreciate it. But man, sometimes it is really difficult to tell the next guy who is not imaginative, and who do not know a thing about music about the beauty of jazz. This is one funny compilation of College and Universities students responses to their jazz classes. 

Brothers and Sisters in jazz, we might need to work harder to educate the audience. 


These are quotes from students in a college jazz history class. They are extracted from the essay topic, "What I learned over this semester in jazz history." These are all genuine responses, completely unaltered. They are all 18+ year old students; not high school or middle school age kids. None of them are music students; they all took this class as a gen. ed. credit and a hopeful "easy A".
  1. "Free Jazz is an era that I wished I had never learned about.?
  2. "Free Jazz. Wow; what a sound it makes. An awful, horrible sound. I don't see how that can actually be called a sound.  My 5 year old nephew could pound on the piano and make the same sound! He may even make a better sound. To be honest, that sound is one big mess".
  3. "With swing, it's kind of up in the air for me. I must say I tried like hell to keep up with it."
  4. "My favorite jazz has a bluesy, Mexican feel to it."
  5. "Though Jazz started in New Orleans, it traveled all around the world picking up and dropping off things along the way."
  6. "One thing that confused me was Jelly Roll Morton. Did he play with the Red Hot Chili Peppers? I didn't think that they were around back then.?
  7. "Jelly Roll (Morton) bridged the gap between piano and ragtime.
  8. "My grandpa likes it, but I think scat stinks."
  9. "Chick Corea, Dizzie Gillespie, Bix Biderbeck, and the monk created the first cool group."
  10. "I wished Don Cherry would put his trumpet back in his pocket."
  11. "There is not enough space in my head to fit all that I learned."
  12. "This class taught me about a lot of things that I never knew about."
  13. "Some of the big jazz musicians we learned about were: Lous Armstrong, Duke, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Cillespic, T. Mark, Ken Barns, Buddy Baldwin, Jellyroll Mortin, Sydney Bichai, Fats Waller, Earl Hines, and many many more."
  14. "Coming into class on the first day, I assumed there would be a boring professor standing in front of the class droning on and on about jazz. Here's where it started; this is who played it; and here we are today; blah, blah, blah. I now realize that my assumption wasn't all that wrong."
  15. "I assumed that jazz had started in the African-American community only because it fulfilled a multi-cultural course that I was required to take."
  16. "Jim Crow, in a way, was the first jazz musician."
  17. "Jazz was put into effect by Jim Crow"s Law."
  18. "I really enjoyed hearing the big band, Frank Foster's Arrangement".
  19. "I learned in this class that, contrary to my mom's opinion, Kenny G is a joke. A really non-funny one."
  20. "I fell in love with that tune, "Stablemates". It really hits home.?
  21. "Jazz musicians don't play for women any more."
  22. "I learned that going to jazz concerts gets me in good with the girlfriend."
  23. "I learned a lot about Be Bop, Swing, Drugs, and Fusion."
  24. "I found new respect for Miles Davis. He was adamant about not using drugs when everyone else was trying to get him to try some."
  25. "I liked hearing the Original Dixieland (Jazz) Band, and how they were the original Dixieland band."
  26. "You might want to mention to future classes that jazz brings true romance to a scene."
  27. "I'm glad I took this class, because I feel more comfortable to talk about jazz in its awesomeness."
  28. "Drugs caused many artists their careers in many ways."
  29. "Jazz is a style of music that is almost very sober."
  30. "I figured jazz started in the 1960s, but to my surprise, it started back in the late 18th century."
  31. "Smooth jazz now just plain old angers me."
  32. "A lot of the things that I learned were facts that I never new about, not only in jazz, but in life as well."
  33. "I got really excited by the tenor sax, soprano sax, baritone sax, but not so much the alto sax."
  34. "I can't believe that blacks had time to invent jazz if they were hanging out in the whorehouses with Jelly Roll Morton."
  35. "A lot of black jazz musicians were very talented, which probably came from them not having anything else to do."
  36. "When blacks and whites finally decided to get together to make jazz, it was a big hit."
  37. "Lennie Tristano and Lee Konitz were two guys who would sit down and enjoy cool jazz."
  38. "Going to the club gave me jazz sensations."
  39. "I hear the hard-bop jazz influence on bands today such as Matchbox Twenty and Dave Matthews Band".
  40. "I'm now going to start this essay on jazz."
  41. "James Crow worked to bring the slaves together with the creoles."
  42. "Learning jazz has helped me beat my mom at Jeopardy. She had no idea who a blind pianist from Toledo, OH was for $800."
  43. "I learned the definition of supreme technical virtuosity is to play like Louie Armstrong."
  44. "Charlie Parker was a famous jazz musician who played saxophonists."
  45. "Getting 81% (on a test) is all well and good until you see that dumb guy next to you who picks his nose getting 91%. I then started studying and coming to class".
  46. "I asked the drummer what the names of the names and styles of the tunes that he played but he didn't seem to know".
  47. "TV has become more jazzy to me now."
  48. "Studying jazz has been a coming out party for me."
  49. "I loved the vibrational solos of Clifford Brown."
  50. "When I think of tradition and instruments, I think of Fiddler of the Roof".
  51. "I learned a lot from the different guest speakers in class, whether they were an experienced piano player, a director of music at a major motel, or a guitar player with an oddly placed handkerchief in his pocket."
  52. "Jazz has the technique of classical music, the feeling of blues, and the hope of children everywhere."
  53. "I know what troubles musicians now when I watch and listen to them play."
  54. "My ties to jazz were through Bleeding Gums Murphy, a character on a TV show called the Simpsons. It comes on at 8pm on Sunday nights."
  55. "I was surprised to find out about the different styles of jazz like hard, be, and post bops."
  56. "I thought that jazz was a certain amount of instruments that you played and was composed for you(,) not believing that it was their improvisation and the jazz musicians who made up the music on the spot doing what they wanted to do with the tunes. I know this is hard to explain but it is true."
  57. "When I try to play jazz, I mess around with the instruments pounding out random notes that were just me making nonsense up and it sounding like a big pile of crap."
  58. "Jazz is more profound when it doesn't help pay the bills."
  59. "The first thing I learned in jazz history that happy birthday is the most played jazz classic. You want to hear happy birthday in swing BAM! You got it You want to hear happy birthday in classic jazz BAM! You got it. You want to hear happy birthday in be bop BAM! You go(t) it. It's great The second thing I learned is free jazz is where its at. I think that I could be a free jazz musician cause it all sounds like a drunk 7 year old jamming down on some notes and making the sweet sweet music fly. Free jazz was defiantly the best part of the class but unfortunately you didn't play free jazz enough. My one suggestion for your next class is that you start out every class with a 5 minute free jazz intro. Over all and all, I defiantly learned a lot in jazz history class."
  60. "Hip hop and pop are fine, going out for fame and bling bling. Jazz has been around for a while, is out of style, but can really sing."
  61. "Jazz musicians sing and play music because they can't contain their passions. Their music starts in the soul radiates out in every direction."
  62. "Jazz is a very dynamic kind of music. Loud and Soft.
  63. "Swing makes you want to get up and dance and free jazz just makes you want to get up."
  64. "If any kind of music can calm a hectic day, its cool jazz. If you feel like going out and dancing, however there is ragtime."
  65. "In conclusion, jazz is music."
  66. "Jazz has come from the fields of New Orleans to my 2pm class, and beyond."
  67. "Unlike other forms of music, jazz is listened to by old people as well as us."
  68. "I learned what intros and outros were in this class. Now I look for them when I go searching for good music."
  69. "I went to do my (jazz) listening report at the house of blues."
  70. "Jazz has taught me a lot about the Civil War, World War I, and World War II."
  71. "I thought of jazz as a thing of the past, something old African American men listened to on old record players while sitting on their front porches smoking cigars."
  72. "Steve Turre has taught me that sea shells should be left on the ground instead of his mouth."
  73. "Over the course of the semester my knowledge of jazz has gone from nothing to practically nothing."
  74. "Even though I probably won't listen to jazz after this semester, it has given me a greater appreciation of movies."
  75. "My favorite person to study was Sonny Rollins. He knew that he had to throw his saxophone off the bridge when he heard how good Charlie Parker was."
  76. "Jazz to me was the 'shoo opps' from groups in streets downtown in the olden, golden days."
  77. "Happy birthday That song is just amazing to me."
  78. "My all-time favorite jazz artist to listen to was Buddy Baldwin, AKA "the jazz king". I think I'm going to go out and buy a couple of his CDs?
  79. "I was surprised to find musicians with such odd names such as Vilage Von Guard."
  80. "Jazz is not as popular with all of the adolescence going around."
  81. "I like jazz more in books than on cds."
  82. "I remember coming into class with no facts but a whole plate of bullshit to dish out."?
  83. "I found myself learning about Blues, Early Jazz, Dixieland, Swing, Be Bop, Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, Cool Jazz, Hard Bop, Free Jazz, Third Stream, Japanese, Post Bop, Fusion, Smooth, Modern Jazz, and the list goes on."
  84. " 'Call and Respond' is where one musician plays and the other one tries too hard to figure out what he's doing."
  85. "The people in Dixie Land originated jazz music."
  86. "Jazz is now a part of me from 2pm-3:15pm every Tuesday and Thursday."
  87. "Jazz started in the fields where they used hand-me-down instruments and wore hand-me-down clothes."
  88. "If Wynton Marsalis said jazz was dead in the 1970's, what was he playing at the time".
  89. "Weather Report was the final big band back in the day."
  90. "My girlfriend and I both agreed the next morning that jazz-club food was something we could've done without."
  91. "Jazz agitates me."
  92. "I like jazz, but I need something else besides rhythm, melody, and harmony."
  93. "I had no clue that so many (musicians) used drugs. Thinking about that, there is no doubt that they are living the life I dream of. They are spending money on things that they don't really need or even want."
  94. "I noticed that there weren't many jazz women in our textbook until I looked to see that the author was a guy. All guys are sexist, women bashers, who don't ever give us our credit."
  95. "The part I most enjoyed was studying and appreciating slavery.'
  96. "Its hard to imagine where Winton Marsalis gets his ideas from."
  97. "I'd like to see midgets getting bribed in every jazz club. Not just with Birdland. I'm of course talking about the jazz club, not Charlie Parker."
  98. "We've had our share of good times and bad times over the semester. By bad times, I mean my tests."
  99. "Count Bassie WAS the swing era".
  100. "This class increased my intelligence with aptitude."
  101. "Duke Ellington had the ability to turn jazz compositions into pure magic."
  102. "Swing died in World War II when the soloists took over."
  103. "I could go on and on about jazz, but I won't.?
  104. "Tony Williams was my favorite drummer because his group, Lifetime, is the same name as my favorite channel that I watch."
  105. "How do the musicians know what to play when their eyes were closed the whole time? And what was with the piano player talking while he played his solos. His musician friends must have been thought he was crazy."
  106. "I technically wasn't in your class but I was happy to be along for the ride."
  107. "I was in jazz band in high school but we didn't play jazz music."
  108. "Dizzie Gillespie was the one who jammed on the drums."
  109. "I thought doing our listening report would be a painful sort of torture."
  110. "I was bummed out at the beginning of the semester because I thought Louis Armstrong was going to be one of the guest lecturers."

Monday, November 15, 2010

2010 Unit Asia 巡回演出之旅,印度篇


妹尾河童在他的“印度大不同”中有提到一句话,而且我已经和日本人证实过确实有这句话: You Either Love or Hate India 。 我想我比较倾向后者吧,很可惜。
出发前已经听了许多关于印度的讯息,水绝对不能喝(对),很脏(很对),人很多(很对),交通混乱(非常对) ,食物不好吃(有所保留),很臭(蛮对),落后(相对来说),杂乱(非常对)。已经说过了我是个矜贵的旅者,甚至我没有办法称自己为旅者,如果跟那些Lonely Planet,或者死忠背包客比起来,可以睡在臭到令人窒息的床上面,吃发霉的面包,在泥黄的水里面洗澡,我真的没有办法做到。我需要干净的床单,吃好吃的食物,有透明的水喝,洗澡,最好还有Internet 给我联络一下爱人。

我们住的是五星酒店哦,就连五星酒店的水,都透露出“危险”的讯息(从水管里面流出来的水,是黄色的,第一天没有那么严重,可是盛起来就可以看出真颜色,第二天噼里啪啦的流出了泥浆,然后出来的是深黄色的水。绝对是危险)。然后听日本大使馆的人说的故事:日本女篮队到Chennai 比赛,怕在外吃饭会拉肚子,决定一定在五星酒店吃,结果大家都拉肚子,输给了韩国队,哈哈哈!)所以水一定要买瓶装水。可是连瓶装水的模样都有点不令我放心,着实担心了几天。毕竟此行是工作啊,拉肚子就没法弹琴了啦!

交通的混乱是数一数二的。经历了中国二三等都市的交通,加上才见识的开罗交通,印度Chennai 和 Calcutta 的交通,绝对可以排在世界前五名的(从底算起)。在开罗的喇叭声,是“比。。比。。比。。比。。”有空隙的,在印度的是“比比比比比比比”没有间隙的。 大家都死命赶到哪里去,行人也死命冲上道路,也有根本不理的车乱停在路边,和完全不理的人走在路中间,真的服了你们。



我想无动于衷才是最恐怖的。我可以抽身而出,可是在这里生活的人们,天天对着这样的光景,对肮脏的无以复加的街道,对穷困到无可理喻的贫民,对混乱到无可动弹的交通,对麻木到无法感动的心灵,到底是怎样的?我想可能我住下来就会了解吧。不过,真的太谢谢了。 没有理由,我想没有来的原因吧。

在看了一场印度音乐的演出,给我找到再来的原因。孔子曾经说郑国的音乐是靡靡之音,可是他还有没 听过印度的音乐呢!这个如水滑动的音符,如小鹿乱撞的节拍,如无骨女郎的舞蹈,挑动着人心,这音乐恐怕孔夫子会嚷嚷:亡国之音啊!太棒的音乐了!害我差点就买支Sitar 回家。

街上倒是会遇到许多友善的人,比如说走过茶档,好奇看了几眼,就给人请喝茶了。像我们的Teh Tarik,这里也有Tarik的。不过味道有姜的味道,盛在瓦做的小杯子里,好喝。也有点担心拉肚子,哈哈。这杯茶也很便宜就是了,3 Rupee,相等于 两毛钱吧。

Why are you taking pictures?

Nothing, Just curious, I'm a tourist here. 

恍然大悟: Oh You're a tourist???


 误打误撞来到Calcutta 地标性建筑物,Victoria Memorial Hall,本来是Quaeen Victoria ,和这里的藩王健起来的,现在成为了博物馆。大剌剌打枪外国人,印度人收费10 Rupee, 外国人 150 Rupee。
在英国来临是那么迫不及待的将主权交出去,恨不得英国主子不怜惜我们。独立后竟然 大言不惭说什么争取来的主权,屁股和脸都是你。他妈的。
另外刚刚到达时看到这里报纸头条是某部长用了1.7忆来租用一个场地45天的使用权,可是被查出来那个场地其实可以用1亿 就可以买下来了。疑?为什么那样熟悉的?不同的是,我们伟大的国家做这种事的部长还是没有事,账单由纳税人买单,而在印度,该部长受到革职。


我想没有什么意外的话,应该是不会再回来印度吧,除非为了看看印度古典音乐,或者来这里学Tabla,或者来看Taj Mahal,或者来这里苦行。。。。。 还是别对生命说绝对。

Thursday, November 11, 2010

2010 Unit Asia 巡回演出之旅,土耳其篇

旅行到不同的国家,到达机场后前往市区时常常第一个印象是,周围都是陌生的(废话!) 一路上都是不熟悉的景色,不太能够捉摸到底什么时候才到达我要去的地方,时间过得很慢。多数国家的机场通往市区的路景色都是千篇一律的,不太有什么看头,想象KLIA 到市区就是了。除了在欧洲国家,有些机场比较靠近市区。

Anyway,离开埃及前往土耳其的首都安卡拉,抵达机场后,收集了所有的行李后,在前往市区的路上就是这样的感觉,一路上没有什么看头,就是高速公路,一根一根的电灯柱飞奔而过,偶尔一间加油站,就这样。可是整个感觉,与开罗的混乱相比,简直就是天和地,更清楚的说明,这就是欧洲国家了。虽然闷,可是东西都鲜明干净,有条有理,偶尔看到的房子好像透露出幸福的光明一样。对不起,我不是太高级的旅人,看到不干净的东西就是反感就是了。我希望我去的地方都有基本的文明设施,水电不用说,干净的床垫被单枕头更是 一定的,有几间McDonald's 准备着我吃不惯当地食物时可以充饥,有便利店卖干净的水,最好还有免费的Internet 就万事满意了。
忘了说,开罗真的很难找便利店,都是24小时开门的药剂店 Pharmacy! 而且真的只是单纯的药剂店哦,连矿泉水都没有卖哦!难免我想象开罗是不是时常发生深夜枪击案,人们会需要24小时开门的药剂店买纱布红药水什么的。

安卡拉是土耳其里面比较欧洲化的地带,可能是首府的关系,也可能是国父凯莫尔葬身在这的关系,更加是历史错综纠纷的关系,这里就是非常的欧洲,虽然地理上这里还蛮靠近伊朗的哦。在这里看到的人们脸孔都倾向欧洲的,当然还是有蛮多浓眉懒惰眼的南欧和阿拉伯人种,和比较倾向小亚细亚Asia Minor的人种。在到访这里前,查了一下Wikipedia,说真的这里的文化和历史的错综纠缠,不是两三言可以说清楚,而且我对这里的历史什么的真的是一无所知,有点马上要放弃的感觉。大概的情况是,这里有着世界最古老的市镇(一万多年前,从五千年历史的埃及走过来,有点讽刺),然后有着从现在伊朗地区过来的民族,出现在圣经上面的名字: Assyrian, Samaritan,有音乐上面用的名词的民族: Ionian, Phrygian, Lydian 等等,然后波斯人,然后罗马人,然后中亚人,然后伊斯兰教人,然后蒙古人,然后土耳其人。太复杂了,所以到了这里著名的Museum of Anatolian Civilizations 都只是草草看过,脑袋真的处理不了这么多的资讯。

第一天我们就拜访了这里的主要博物馆,就像说过的,真的是太复杂的历史,我只是草草经过。不过博物馆后随便选了一条路走,经过了许多民房,大多都是比较穷的感觉的民房,然后到达一个城堡,从这里可以鸟瞰安卡拉市。值得一提的是,这里的人们都非常不介意,甚至可以说怂恿你给他们照相。在路上看到小孩,他们会笑着跟你走,你给他们照相他们就笑成一团然后摆出姿态任你照(不过有些就会伸手说 1 Lire! 1 Lire!)。大人就说着我听不懂的土耳其话,手势提示我照相,然后他们也都笑成一团,很是可爱。因为天气凉爽,秋叶翩翩,走起来很舒服,也影响了我对这里的印象,这里真的是太舒服了。加上到处都是绿油油的草地,公园。一个市镇的居住环境真的还得有一些公园草地,让居住者住的舒服,这在欧洲这些国家都是蛮基本的。
还有还有!这里的猫咪,Angora Cats 都很漂亮哦!可是就不像人们那么友善就是了。


有多一天的假日,本来打算到伊斯坦堡去,可是因为路途遥远,时间上可能很急,所以打消念头。在网上查询,决定到离开安卡拉两个小时的小镇Beypazari去。车资才6 Lire,真是太便宜了,还有汽水喝,可是越来越多人上车,12人座的休旅车载了大约17人,真令人担心。语言不通,只有拼命说Beypazari, Beypazari (原来发音是没有发那个i 的,变成Beypazar)。然后在遍布山麓,干旱的地段上,车上几个男人一直不怀好意的瞄着明显是亚洲人的我们,令我开始担心我们会被回教恐怖分子绑架,想到的是,那么明天的演出就会少了演奏者了!不过后来证明他们应该也是对我们的好奇,因为整个行程上没有遇到一个亚洲人,没有日本人,没有台湾人,没有韩国人,没有中国人,就只有我们。

Beypazari 是土耳其主要的萝卜产地,所以有很多摊子售卖萝卜汁是很合情理的,可是这萝卜汁真的是好喝啊!另外这里的特产是有汽矿泉水,大瓶售价0.75 Lire,太便宜了!这里面包也很好吃,另外还有Baklava 千层糕。路上行人都开开心心的,这里已经发展成为一个旅游胜地了。反观我们的旅游圣地,有些地方真的可以做到更好咯。

很多时候在外头的时候都会反观自己的国家,并非自卑心作祟,而是在比较之下希望自己的国家能够做的更好。土耳其同样是回教为国教,可是为什么他们可以达到如此的局面,我想政教分离是有关系的吧?看了Orhan Pamuk 的小说,也知道曾经土耳其的宗教愚昧拖垮了奥斯曼帝国。看到我们这里还在用宗教为幌子来愚昧人民。。。。

在一个餐厅听了很棒的土耳其音乐,太有型了。土耳其音乐很靠近中东风味那种声音,也是很多滑音,然后大调小调混在一起,节拍也很复杂,有时候甚至我都算不到到底是几拍的。现场食客都很热情的开始跳舞啦,大家都很会唱哦,不管什么歌大家就唱起来。可能就像我们的月亮代表我的心(7/4 拍),或者什么夜来香之类的吧。也不知道是发自内心的还是只是做做样子,那些侍应竟然就跳起舞来了。真是有够热情哦!也品尝了非常美味,可是浓烈的酒,好像叫Luka ,据闻是用作葡萄酒后剩下的渣来再发酵后,颜色是透明的,可是一加水就变成乳白色的烈酒。味道还有点甜甜的,可是嗅起来可是非常剧烈。小碟子是装水结成冰,然后将装酒的杯子套进去来冰镇酒的。


从安卡拉到印度则是痛苦的旅程,九点离开酒店,从安卡拉飞伊斯坦堡,等待5个小时,飞杜拜,等待3个小时,再飞Chennai,总共在路上26个小时,没有办法入睡。不管飞多少次,我还是痛恨飞行。不过说起来Emirates Airlines 很不错哦!我就趁机会看了5部电影。